Lastly, I would say I think the air of the city has been impacted by the way mainstream media has couched the developments. I would have loved to see mainstream media outlets say stuff like, Memphis plans for a peaceful protest, as opposed to Memphis is on edge.
When they started reporting at the beginning of the week, I was looking around, because I felt like I missed something. That hadn’t been what was in the air. That hadn’t been what I had felt. That hadn’t been what my colleagues had felt.
When 29-year-old Nichols died after a confrontation with police, Durham said her students had a lot of questions.
She talked with them about police brutality, juvenile crime and constitutional rights.
“They need to know about civic participation. They need to know about civic awareness. They are young, but they are members of this community,” she said.
After watching a news conference with Nichols’s parents on Monday, each student wrote a letter to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and councilman Edmund Ford Sr., expressing how they felt.
Durham said she wants her students to know their voices count, and they have the power to make change.
“I wanted to see their take,” she said. “I wanted to let them know they are included and that we listen to them and see them.”